The Relationship between Church and State

In an ever more polarized political climate, this presentation explores various models for Church-State relations that have emerged in Church history, including:

  • a state devoid of the Church
  • a theocracy
  • a Church-controlled state
  • a State-controlled Church; and
  • a separation of Church and State.


The solution of a separation between Church and State may seem like an obvious one to many Americans today - and has in fact been endorsed by none other than Pope Benedict XVI.  But in reality, there never can be and never will be a pure "separation."  The relationship is better described as "the autonomy of Church and State."  Building on the vision of Church-State relations offered by Pope Benedict XVI, this presentation will attempt to identify the guiding principles for healthy Church-State relations in the decades to come.